Intellectual property is one of the most important and valuable intangible assets to a startup company. The idea, knowhow, and processes differentiate a company from competitors. Many startup founders have heard of intellectual property, but few truly understand how effectively protecting intellectual property can help their startup. There are three ways to protect intellectual property: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Understanding these different types of intellectual property protections and how each applies is pertinent when taking steps to protect a startup company’s intellectual property. As equally important as getting protection for assets, is getting the correct form of protection. The experienced California startup attorneys at Startup Company Counsel have valuable information that will help protect a company’s intellectual property in the proper form. There are many steps to take when protecting intellectual property and the following are some examples:
California courts often enforce confidentiality agreements and intellectual property assignment provisions. The more specific the confidentiality agreements are drafted, the higher likelihood that a California court will enforce the provision. As a result, startup companies should ensure that they describe with specificity the categories of information they would like to protect. The confidentiality agreements should accordingly be drafted to include those categories. Having an experienced California startup attorney to draft these agreements increases the strength of the contract and increases the chances of it being upheld in court.
In addition, confidentiality agreements should also contain any trade secret information, such as source code, CAD designs, research and development tests, business plans, customers, vendors, and supplier information and other commercially sensitive information which gives the startup a competitive advantage. California follows the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and it protects against the theft, use, or disclosure of information, whether in electronic or paper format. Under California’s definition of “trade secret,” it does not matter that some trade secrets may be available in the public medium. Startups should ensure that their confidentiality agreement references California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act, as it is key to protecting trade secrets.
Following California Law
Finally, it is important that California’s Labor Code Provisions are followed to ensure clear title to the startup’s intellectual property. Otherwise, litigation could ensue over the ownership of the startup’s technology and other inventions. Consequently, it is crucial to consult with an experienced California startup attorney to understand the obligations under the California Labor Code.
Contact a California Startup Attorney Today
When an entrepreneur decides to create a startup company, many steps must be taken. While in the early stages of the startup, the founder is generally focused on research and development, funding, and sales. Additionally, the founder cannot afford to forget or neglect protecting the startup’s intellectual property. Our California startup company lawyers at Startup Company Counsel can help your startup understand what intangible assets should be protected and how valuable they can be to the startup. Our experienced intellectual property attorneys can help evaluate which protections are best for the startup and assist in defending its intellectual property rights. Call 408-441-7555 or email us to discuss your startup and how to protect its intellectual property.